"at periods generally much posterior to the Revolution"
Spirit of '76, one of the most famous images of the Revolutionary War
Public DomainSpirit of '76, one of the most famous images of the Revolutionary War - Credit: A.M. Willard

The American Revolution arose as escalating tensions between the settlers and Britain reached crisis point. Whilst the empire relied on hierarchies and aristocracy, her American charges, influenced by Enlightenment ideals, turned more and more towards republicanism and liberalism, and increasingly resented the impositions of colonial rule. Events came to a head with the Stamp Act of 1765, a tax that was to be levied by the British Parliament directly on the colonies. America balked at this, declaring that taxation without representation was unconstitutional, and manoeuvred to boycott taxed British imports and expel royal representatives. They also formed governmental institutions within each of the thirteen colonies. Though they were still essentially under the rule of the empire, Britain was incensed by the move towards independence and sent in troops to regain direct rule. The conflict, which began in 1775, lasted for over eight years. In the end, America defeated the British forces and gained independence, with the thirteen colonies combining to become the United States of America.

Watch a dynamic documentary on the American Revolution below.